Temples hold a special significance to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Members of the Church, often referred to as Mormon’s because of their belief in the Book of Mormon, build both Churches and Temples. Churches are set aside for regular weekly Sunday services and other activities, while Temples are reserved for special ordinances. Some of these sacred ordinances include marriages between a husband and a wife, and family sealings. Each of these ordinances is a special eternal promise that is made between our heavenly God and one of his earthly children. Only in the Temple can many of these special promises and blessings be obtained that link us to our Heavenly Father (God) and link us together as eternal families.
The Mesa Arizona Temple was dedicated by then-President of the Church Heber J. Grant in 1927. It was the first Mormon Temple to be built in the State of Arizona. Because of this, it was referred to for many years as the Arizona Temple. It was the only LDS Temple in operation until the second Temple was dedicated in Snowflake, Arizona in 2002.
Here is a link to the original dedicatory prayer that was given by President Heber J. Grant in 1927:
Dedicatory Prayer (link)
Here is some information about the history of the Church leading up to the construction of the Mesa Temple:
Brief History of Church in Phoenix (Microsoft .docx)
For many years, it was also referred to as the Lamanite Temple. Lamanites are a people that were referred to in the Book of Mormon (click for a free copy of the Book of Mormon) that lived in the America’s at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the Old World. Mormons believe that the Native Indian peoples are among the descendants of the Lamanites from the Book of Mormon. For many years, Mormons living in South America and in Mexico had to travel long distances to come to the Mesa Temple in order to make their special covenants in the Temple since it was the closest Temple available at the Time. In addition, the Mesa Temple was the first LDS Temple to have sessions held in a foreign language. Sessions began being offered in the Mesa Temple in Spanish in 1945.
Here is a link to some more history about the “Lamanite Temple”:
Lamanite Temple (information about how many stayed at the Interstake Center building)
History of the first non-English session (Spanish) (Deseret News Article)
More History of the Mormons from Mexico and South America coming to the Mesa Temple (1972 Ensign Magazine Article)
The Mesa Temple is one of three Mormon Temples that do not have an Angel Moroni perched atop a steeple or spire. The other two Temples with this similar design are the Alberta, Canada Temple and the Laie Hawaii Temple. Each of these Temples were built in approximately the same time period and are unique amongst Mormon temple designs. The Mesa Temple also has depictions of various pioneer and Native American scenes carved into the stone along the top outer edges of the temple. Each of these scenes depict a spiritual event from history.
There is an excellent website that has photographs and descriptions of each of these depictions:
Mesa Temple Artwork (link)
Here is a link about a Norwegian Artist who contributed to some of the art designs within the Mesa Temple:
Norwegian Artist (PDF)
Video of some history and construction of Mesa Temple (Youtube video):
In 1975 President Spencer W. Kimball re-dedicated the Mesa Temple following some significant renovations that were made. Here is the text of the re-dedicatory prayer. (link)
Here is a link to an interesting site that shows historical photographs of vintage postcards, many are of old Mesa, including several old postcards of the Mesa Temple. (link)
Today, in addition to the sacred ordinances that are peformed within the Temple, there are other cultural and spiritual events that are open to the general public. Each year there is an incredible display of Christmas lights along with musical concerts and religious Christmas events. This display usually lasts for the entire month of December. There is a public visitor center at the temple that shows historical photos of the Mesa Temple, religious movies and short videos, and displays spiritual and religious artwork. The public is welcome to come and experience what the visitor center has to offer. The Mesa Temple also hosts an annual Easter Pageant in which scenes from the life of Jesus Christ including his crucifixion, death, and resurrection are brought to life in a huge pageant celebrating the event with live actors and beautiful music and singing.
Mesa Temple Christmas Lights (link to official website)
Mesa Temple Christmas Lights (Youtube video):
Information about the Easter Pageant (link to official website)
More information about the Easter Pageant (wikipedia article)
If you would like more information about having missionaries come to your home and teach you about the LDS faith and Temples, you can request a visit.
If you are looking for a digital download of the Mesa Temple, click here.
If you would like to have a print or canvas made of the Mesa Temple, click here.